A Refresher Course on JCR Journal Suppression Policies

Clarivate Analytics announced our 2016 Journal Impact Factors as part of our Journal Citation Reports (JCR) released this month. We congratulate all those journals that have seen increases in their Journal Impact Factor and are celebrating that success. This most recent release of JCR continues our long history of making objective, consistent, and transparent journal metrics available to publishers, editors, librarians, and researchers across the world. To support the analysis of researchers and editors, this blog reiterates our transparent, long-standing, and consistently applied policies regarding suppression in JCR and coverage in the Web of Science.

Clarivate Analytics’ JCR suppression decisions are based upon an objective analysis of citation data using quantifiable criteria. As such we make no judgments about the editorial intent of published items, or of wrongdoing on the part of any individuals, and do not consider these as factors in our decision. The decision to suppress a Journal Impact Factor is a point-in-time analysis based on objectively applied criteria. While the criteria considered for self-citation suppression and citation stacking have been public for a number of years, precise thresholds are not released so as to prevent gaming.

Journal suppression from the JCR arose from the need to protect the integrity of the Journal Impact Factor in cases where the metric is distorted by excessive self-citation or citation stacking. Such distortion can have a significant effect on the category ranking of the journal and negatively impact the utility of performance metrics. Our suppression policies discourage deliberate manipulation of the citation data, but the responsibility for proper editorial practices rests with each publisher.

JCR suppression is a statistical analysis, whereas the decision to keep a journal in the Web of Science is a separate editorial decision. Our Editorial team, who are unbiased experts in their fields with no affiliation to other publishers or interests, are continuously vetting journals for inclusion in the Web of Science and reviewing journals for continued indexing in our databases. They base their decisions on journal publishing standards, editorial content, global and regional relevancy, and citation analytics. The annual JCR triggers automatic re-evaluations for all suppressed journals, and also a review of all journals exhibiting abnormal self-citation rates to determine if there are underlying causes warranting de-selection from Web of Science—and therefore also being dropped from the following year’s JCR.

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